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A Closer Look at Re-Branding Budget Proposals: “Flexibility” For SNAP

Posted by Agata Pelka, Fellow | Posted on: March 20, 2015 at 01:31 pm

While we’ve already pointed out that the budget resolution released this week by House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) claims to address the plight of struggling American families, but its proposals would almost certainly increase poverty and inequality—I wanted to take a closer look at its proposal for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). SNAP provides low-income families with access to nutritious food; it is one of the most reliable supports for families during tough economic times and one of the most effective programs in alleviating poverty.  SNAP served 46.5 million people in 22.7 million households on average each month in FY 2014. 

The Price budget converts SNAP to a “State Flexibility Fund,” which it claims would give “state governments…the power to administer the program in ways that best fit the needs of their communities with greater incentives to achieve better results.” This is a round-about way of announcing that the budget would cut funding for the program and get rid of the feature of the program that guarantees that all eligible people can receive the food assistance they need, when they need it—the very feature that currently allows SNAP to be flexible and increase funding automatically to adjust to demand.

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"Make Them Whole:" The Fight to End Sexual Assault on Campus

Posted by Mia Jacobs, Program Assistant | Posted on: March 19, 2015 at 04:33 pm

I'll never forget the first time a friend in college told me she had been sexually assaulted. The story was so familiar: at a fraternity party, she was pulled away by a friend of a friend. He led her upstairs, pinned her down. She tried to push him off, told him to stop, but she couldn't and he wouldn't. He raped her. I had heard such stories countless times, but nothing could have prepared me for the person I saw when my dear friend came out to me as a survivor: someone who had come to college hopeful and optimistic, but had been broken by this epidemic that ravages a nearly incomprehensible percentage of students today. 

It was not the second week of freshman year when my friends and I initiated the practice of calling each other at the end of a night out "just to make sure you got home ok" (a practice we continue, terrifyingly, to this day even years out of school). I learned to walk home with my keys clenched between my knuckles. To locate the blue lights on campus. To save the university police number to my phone. We were all, as a different friend who had also been raped during her college years told me, waiting for the inevitable. "I always knew it would happen to me. I was just waiting for my turn," she confessed. 

Today, nearly 1 in 5 women is raped on college campus. 13% of these rapes and 2% of assaults are reported to the university or police. Far too few result in serious consequences for the assailant, or even in disciplinary hearings.  

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House and Senate Budgets Threaten Women’s Health

Posted by Stephanie Glover, Health Policy Fellow | Posted on: March 19, 2015 at 03:04 pm

Earlier this week, the House released a proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY2016) which would leave millions of women and their families without the financial security of high quality health insurance, unable to access the health care services they need, and facing dramatic increases in their healthcare costs. To learn more about the details of House budget proposal, our analysis is available here

Late yesterday, the Senate released their counterpart [PDF] to the House budget. The strategy is the same: repeal the Affordable Care Act and cut Medicare and Medicaid. The results would be the same, too: millions of women left without access to affordable health coverage and the care they need.

Specifically, the Senate budget proposes:

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Another Day, Another Disastrous Budget: Senator Enzi’s Proposal Also Fails Women and Their Families

Posted by Julie Vogtman, Senior Counsel and Director of Income Support Policy | Posted on: March 19, 2015 at 01:53 pm

Budget season is now in full swing on Capitol Hill. Hot on the heels of Rep. Price’s House budget resolution, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY) released his own budget plan yesterday afternoon. Sen. Enzi’s proposal differs from Rep. Price’s plan in a few respects, such as defense spending, and it is even sketchier on the details—but it is clear that both budgets share an appalling disregard for the needs of low-income Americans—and a commitment to protecting tax breaks for wealthy Americans and corporations. Like the Price budget, the Enzi budget would:

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Price House Budget Resolution Is Disastrous News for Women and Families

House Budget Chairman Tom Price (R-GA) just released a budget resolution outlining his priorities for FY 2016 and beyond. While the introduction to his plan observes that “[t]he economy is not working for many Americans,” and “[a] lot of people are struggling to keep up or are being left behind altogether,” he has a funny way of showing his concern for their plight; like the budget plans put forward in recent years by Price’s predecessor, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the Price plan balances the budget on the backs of vulnerable women and their families. The Price budget would:

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Seventh Circuit Will Once Again Review Notre Dame Challenge to the Accommodation

Posted by Rachel Parker, Intern | Posted on: March 17, 2015 at 12:03 pm

Last Monday, the Supreme Court issued what is known as a GVR, or “Grant, Vacate and Remand” order. The order instructs the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby last summer, to reconsider its decision from February of last year that rejected the University of Notre Dame’s challenge to the federal birth control benefit. The Seventh Circuit will review Notre Dame’s challenge next month, Wednesday, April 22nd.

What exactly is Notre Dame challenging? Glad you asked. The birth control coverage benefit, a provision of the Affordable Care Act, requires insurance coverage of the full range of FDA-approved methods of birth control, sterilization, and related education and counseling.

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Five Steps to Enhance Economic Security for LGBT Women

Posted by Fatima Goss Graves, Vice President for Education and Employment | Posted on: March 13, 2015 at 10:39 am

Families are depending on the wages of women more than ever before. You’ve heard some of these stats before but they bear repeating: Women are breadwinners or co-breadwinners in two-thirds of American families and continue to shoulder a disproportionate share of caregiving responsibilities. Yet, women who work full-time, year-round, are paid only 78 cents on the dollarcompared to full-time working men. When the full-time wages of women of color are compared to white men, the disparity is even greater.  And our nation’s public policies and workplace practices are too often based on outdated assumptions about our workforce and the supports necessary to make sure families are economically secure. 

At bottom, these economic concerns are distressing for all women and their families, but too little attention has been placed on the ways in which economic challenges play out for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) women. This is why we are pleased to partner with the Movement Advancement Project, Center for American Progress and a wide range of organizations on a new report that documents the range of economic barriers experienced by LGBT women, and provides concrete proposals to change the cultural and legal framework that undermine their economic security.

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Senate to Vote on Loretta Lynch Nomination Next Week

Posted by Amy K. Matsui, Senior Counsel and Director of Women and the Courts | Posted on: March 11, 2015 at 09:15 am

Politico is reporting that the Senate will vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch to be the U.S. Attorney General next week. Ms. Lynch is an extraordinary nominee who will render exemplary service as the country’s chief law enforcement officer, and the National Women’s Law Center strongly supports her nomination

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